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Useful Tropical Plants

Gaultheria myrsinoides

Kunth

Ericaceae


There is some confusion over the naming of this species, the reports on the plants uses were listed under Pernettya prostrata and we are not sure that G. Myrsinoides is the correct current name for the species.

+ Synonyms

Andromeda prostrata Cav.

Arbutus pilosa Graham

Arbutus prostrata Cav.

Gaultheria alpina (Donn.Sm.) Sleumer

Gaultheria ciliata Schltdl. & Cham.

Gaultheria hirsuta M.Martens & Galeotti

Gaultheria sanmartansis Rusby

Pernettya albiflora B.Fedtsch. & Basil.

Pernettya angustata Benth.

Pernettya buxifolia M.Martens & Galeotti

Pernettya cavanillesiana G.Don

Pernettya ciliaris D.Don ex G.Don

Pernettya ciliata (Cham. & Schltdl.) Small

Pernettya coriacea Klotzsch

Pernettya densa Rusby

Pernettya elliptica DC.

Pernettya halliana Klotzsch

Pernettya hirsuta (M.Martens & Galeotti) Camp

Pernettya mexicana Camp

Pernettya myrsinoides (Kunth) Zucc. ex Steud.

Pernettya obovata Camp

Pernettya oerstediana Klotzsch ex Oerst.

Pernettya parvifolia Benth.

Pernettya pentlandii DC.

Pernettya pilosa (Graham ex Hook.) G.Don

Pernettya prostrata (Cav.) DC.

Pernettya purpurea D.Don ex G.Don

Pernettya robusta Wedd.

Pernettya saxicola Standl. & Steyerm.

Pernettya schizostigma Rusby

Pernettya setigera Klotzsch

Pernettya thomasii Camp

Common Name:

Gaultheria myrsinoides
Close-up of the flowers
Photograph by: James Gaither
Creative Commons License
Gaultheria myrsinoides Gaultheria myrsinoides Gaultheria myrsinoides Gaultheria myrsinoides Gaultheria myrsinoides Gaultheria myrsinoides

General Information

Gaultheria myrsinoides is a low-growing evergreen shrub, reaching a height of about 15cm.
The plant produces an edible fruit which is sometimes gathered from the wild and consumed locally. It is often grown as an ornamental in gardens, where it makes a good ground cover.

Known Hazards

One report says that the fruit is poisonous[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. This is somewhat surprising in what is normally seen as a toxin-free genus.

Botanical References

11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

Range

S. America - Costa Rica to the Andes of N. Chile.

Habitat

Not known

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitEvergreen Shrub
Height0.15 m
PollinatorsInsects
Cultivation StatusOrnamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

A plant of higher elevations in the tropics, where it is usually found at elevations above 2,000 metres, though it can descend to below 1,000 metres in Costa Rica. This species only tolerates light and short-lived frosts[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Prefers a cool moist but not boggy humus rich soil in shade or semi-shade[
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. A peat and moisture loving species, it requires a lime-free soil[
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Prefers a position in full sun, but it also tolerates light shade[
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Closely related to G. Pumila leucocarpa.
This is an interesting plant for the rock garden.
Dioecious. Male and female plants must usually be grown if seed is required. This species, however, does not need a male pollinator in order to fruit well.
Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].

Edible Uses

Fruit - raw or cooked[
177
Title
Plants for Human Consumption.
Publication
 
Author
Kunkel. G.
Publisher
Koeltz Scientific Books
Year
1984
ISBN
3874292169
Description
An excellent book for the dedicated. A comprehensive listing of Latin names with a brief list of edible parts.
]. Up to 15mm in diameter[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].

Medicinal

None known

Agroforestry Uses:

A good ground cover plant for a sunny position or light shade, forming dense thickets[
197
Title
Ground Cover Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Royal Horticultural Society.
Publisher
Cassells.
Year
1989
ISBN
0-304-31089-1
Description
A handy little booklet from the R.H.S.
]. Plants should be spaced about 1 metre apart each way[
208
Title
Plants for Ground Cover
Publication
 
Author
Thomas. G. S.
Publisher
J. M. Dent & Sons
Year
1990
ISBN
0-460-12609-1
Description
An excellent detailled book on the subject, very comprehensive.
].

Other Uses

None known

Propagation

The seed requires a period of cold stratification. Pre-chill for 4 - 10 weeks and surface sow in a lime-free compost in a shady part of the greenhouse and keep moist[
78
Title
Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers.
Publication
 
Author
Sheat. W. G.
Publisher
MacMillan and Co
Year
1948
ISBN
-
Description
A bit dated but a good book on propagation techniques with specific details for a wide range of plants.
]. The seed usually germinates well, usually within 1 - 2 months at 20°c, but the seedlings are liable to damp off. Watering them with care and making sure they get ample ventilation will reduce this risk. Watering them with a garlic infusion can help to prevent damping off[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are about 25mm tall and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse for at least their first winter[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. Plant them out in late spring or early summer. The seedlings are susceptible to spring frosts and so it might be wise to give them some protection in their first spring or two outdoors..
Cuttings of half-ripe wood 3 - 6cm long, July/August in a frame in a shady position. They form roots in late summer or spring[
78
Title
Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers.
Publication
 
Author
Sheat. W. G.
Publisher
MacMillan and Co
Year
1948
ISBN
-
Description
A bit dated but a good book on propagation techniques with specific details for a wide range of plants.
]. A good percentage usually take.
Division in spring just before new growth begins. 'Drop' the plants 12 months earlier by digging them up and replanting them deeper in the soil so that the branches are buried and can form roots. This works best in a sandy soil[
78
Title
Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers.
Publication
 
Author
Sheat. W. G.
Publisher
MacMillan and Co
Year
1948
ISBN
-
Description
A bit dated but a good book on propagation techniques with specific details for a wide range of plants.
]. It is best to pot up the divisions and grow them on in a lightly shaded position in the greenhouse until they are established. Plant them out in the summer.
Layering in September/October. Takes 12 months[
78
Title
Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers.
Publication
 
Author
Sheat. W. G.
Publisher
MacMillan and Co
Year
1948
ISBN
-
Description
A bit dated but a good book on propagation techniques with specific details for a wide range of plants.
].

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